New Keyboards & Four Tips

I have some great tips to share with this column, but first I want to offer my personal endorsement for the new Apple keyboard.?? My choice of a keyboard is not a casual thing.? I can still type 100 WPM and while that is not the accomplishment it was on an electric typewriter, it is still an accomplishment that I try to keep current.

My computer is a 15 inch G4 notebook.? I always use an external keyboard with it.? I despise typing on a notebook keyboard.? It is a personal thing, but I just canit type well on the notebook keyboards and I donit like the long reach that is required.?

So for what it is worth, from one experienced typist, the new keyboard is great.? The keys are well spaced, the keyboard is quiet, the keys move smoothly, and I like the fact that they are set down into the board because there is less chance for damage.? One new feature of the new keyboard is the addition of graphic images for each of the "F" keys that remind you of what they can do.?

Be sure and note that the Bluetooth version of this new design is designed like a notebook keyboard while the standard style includes all the elements you usually find on a full keyboard, such as the full keypad.?

Both versions are available on the Apple Web site and should also be available anywhere else Apple products are sold.? Cost is US$49 for the USB version and $79 for the Bluetooth version.

New USB Keyboard
New Bluetooth Keyboard

Tip #1 (For slot-loading CD/DVD drives)

If you have a serious problem with your Mac (it can happen!) you can find yourself needing to insert a CD to start the repair process.? It could be your system install disk or a disk for a repair application like Diskwarrior.? The problem is, you canit insert a CD if your computer wonit turn on and you canit fix the problem unless you insert the CD.? There is a solution.

Gently put the CD in the slot as far as it will go.? The emphasis is on gently.? Hold down the ?C? key while you start the computer and your CD should slide in the rest of the way on its own.

Tip #2 (Repairing Permissions)

If you donit back up your computer routinely (and you know you should, but that is a lecture for another day), at least protect yourself by backing up important stuff before you install new software.?? Even installations of good, reliable software can cause glitches and it is better to be safe than sorry.? (Boy is that an old saw.)? After you install new software you should also routinely run Disk Utility and have it run the Repair Permissions routine.? Hereis how:

Open Disk Utility by choosing Applications > Utilities > Startup Disk (in left column)
Click First Aid.
Click Repair Disk permissions to test and repair permissions

Tip #3 (Announcements)

If you find extraneous verbal announcements such as "Itis not my fault ........" annoying, it is easy to turn them off.

Choose Apple Menu > System Preferences > Speech > Text To Speech.? Remove the check mark from the box next to "Announce when an application requires your attention.?

Systems Preference Speech Window

Tip #4 (Sharing a URL)

There are a couple of fast ways to send Web addresses (URLs) to someone else.

The first is to cut and past them into an iChat text interaction.? The recipient will be able to click on the URL and instantly open the site.? Be sure to include the entire URL including the http://.? A correct, complete URL for The Mac Observer would look like this --

Keep in mind that not all Web addresses contain www.? The Web has become very sophisticated and there are many, many Web addresses out there now that do not include www as part of their address.? If you donit see it, then it probably doesnit belong and you shouldnit add it in.

The second quick way to send someone a URL is to take advantage of the compatibility that exists between Safari and Mail.? To make this one work you must actually be at the site you want to share with someone else.

Highlight the URL (click once on the icon to the left of the? address for speed).
Choose the Safari menu > Services > Mail > Send Selection.
Mail opens a new message containing the URL, ready for you to fill in the recipient and subject lines.
Fill in that information, hit send, and your information is on its way.

And on a personal note.?? In the past 14 days my car has been broken into twice.? They were after my "after market stereo" and my iPod which was a gift from TMO.? The first time they got both and I was out $700 for the deductible on my insurance.? The second time they got neither, but I am out another $250 for additional damages.? The second time the police officer told me that my car was probably being targeted because of the apple stickers on my windows.? Thieves saw the stickers and assumed they would find equipment that they could easily sell.? If you are not able to garage your car you might want to keep my experience in mind.? Meanwhile, I will find another way to show my Apple pride.? Suggestions are more than welcome.